The preliminaries are over. The 2014 season opens for the Marshall County football Marshals Friday night at Trigg County’s Perdue Field in Cadiz.
The Marshals traveled to Morganfield for a scrimmage against Union County on Thursday, and in three quarters, the varsity put 33 points on the scoreboard to Union County’s 27. The freshmen and junior varsity played the final period.
The 33-27 score gave the Marshals and first-year coach Evan Merrick a tangible positive, and not just a moral victory, after two halves of scrimmage action the week before at Fort Campbell, in which the orange team came out on the short end of the score against Fort Campbell and Clarksville (Tennessee) Northeast.
Merrick is pleased with the way things have progressed since he was named to replace Ron Barnard as head coach in April.
“We’ve got things to work on,” he said. “But we’re happy.”
Trigg County opened the season last week at Russellvile, falling 36-20 to the Panthers.
On Aug. 30 last year, in Marshall County’s season opener, the Wildcats won 35-24, trimming the Marshals’ edge in the series to 7-5.
Trigg County went on to post a 5-6 record last season under coach Coby Lewis.
That was the first time the two teams had met since 1994.
Merrick was pleased with a number of things, particularly with his team’s conditoning and the performance of the offense in the running attack.
“We had 300 yards on the ground,” he said. “We didn’t punt one time.”
Quarterback Lane Roberts, making the conversion from receiver, accounted for a good chunk of those 300 yards, Merrick said, “using his feet more than going through the air.”
Other productive performances came from Iverson Ware, Justin Robinson, Colton Lampley and Dalton Nelson, Merrick said.
Ware is also making a transition, after spending his career up to this senior season as a blocker and tackler.
The 5-11, 224-pounder will still see action as an offensive lineman and will anchor the defense at linebacker.
But he’s also carrying the ball, and gives the Marshals one more capable player in the depth chart at that spot.
“We’ll use the running back by committee approach,” Merrick said, to utilize all the weapons at the team’s disposal.
The defense, Merrick said, gave up some big plays to the Braves.
“It’s all things that we can work on and correct,” he said.
On the plus side, the defense forced four turnovers in the three quarters of play.
The Marshals stayed healthy through the two scrimmages, with the exception of some bumps and bruises, and despite the heat last week, there were no instances of cramping or fatigue on the Marshals’ part, Merrick said.
In the final quarter, he said, “We got just about everybody in the game.”
The overall result was positive.
“It’s good for the kids’ confidence going into this week,” he said.